NA: Buttonwillow battles show things to come

Knudsen and Ingham Battle at Buttonwillow as Davis and Skerlong Share Top Spot in 1600 By Travis Braun John Knudsen and Seth Ingham fought a hard battle to score victories in Saturday's and Sunday's 2 liter events at Buttonwillow Raceway Park...

Knudsen and Ingham Battle at Buttonwillow as Davis and Skerlong Share Top Spot in 1600
By Travis Braun

John Knudsen and Seth Ingham fought a hard battle to score victories in Saturday's and Sunday's 2 liter events at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in the Formula TR series on April 9th and 10th. Adam Davis and Carl Skerlong took the slightly slower 1600 class wins after an equally "edge of your seat" race.

Saturday's 2 liter event showcased an unfortunate turn of events with no more than two laps to go when current leader and pole sitter Seth Ingham gave up the lead as his car quit on course with a fuel delivery problem. This left formula car veteran John Knudsen and former teammate of Knudsen's, Derek Sabol, to fight it out. Going into the final turn of the last lap, Sabol tried a daring move to the inside of Knudsen putting two wheels in the dirt and completing the pass. It was Knudsen, though, who would tuck back under Sabol for the victory with Brett McDonald in third.

"Derek and I had a good battle," Knudsen commented after the race. "Coming down to the last turn Derek went on the inside of me and had two wheels off. He just overshot the braking zone and slid wide."

Young Sabol recalled, "I battled it out with Knudsen.  I had two
wheels in the dirt trying to get under him.  I got him and then he got me
back.  It was a great race."

Sunday's 2 liter race set the stage for one of the more exciting Formula TR events in recent history. This time Sabol got the jump on Knudsen in second and Ingham in third. Ingham managed his way into the lead before a full course caution came out for a high centered 1600 car in turn two. In an amazing turn of events, Ingham spun behind the pace car while getting ready to go green. This sent Ingham to start at the back of the field and to once again have Sabol and Knudsen running neck and neck at the green flag. Ingham was on a mission, though, and with two laps to go snuck by Sabol heading down into turn two for the victory with Knudsen finishing third.

Ingham recalled, "I spun warming up my tires under yellow and had to go to the back. With two laps to go I went to the outside of Sabol in turn one and got enough of a run for turn two. It made for a totally different race with the spin under yellow."

"Ingham looped it in front of me under yellow," Sabol explained. "John, Seth, and I all ran really close together. All the guys at Bucknum are doing a great job."

At the green flag of Saturday's 1600 developmental class event it seemed to be Carl Skerlong's race after pulling away from the entire field. Trouble struck not even five laps into the event, though, when Skerlong lost control of his Odyssey Motorsports machine and spun around in the last turn, putting him all the way back to ninth place. Philip Metzger led the field until a short off track trip put him back to third place and gave Adam Davis the lead. Metzger worked his way back into second but didn't have enough for Davis, who took his first Formula TR victory.

Davis explained after the race, "I just kept it cool because I knew it was a long race. While taking action to avoid a collision with Skerlong, Metzger got around me. Metzger made a mistake which I pounced upon and I never looked back for my first Formula TR win."

"I got on the inside of Davis when Skerlong spun and led for three or four laps," Metzger remarked. "Coming out of Riverside there's a big drop off on the outside of the asphalt and I dipped two wheels off which sucked me out. I still got second which is good."

Skerlong said this of his spin, "It was just a driver error. A mistake on my part. I knew when I entered the corner that I was carrying too much speed."

The green flag for Sunday's 1600 event dropped and Snake Livernash drove his Welch Racing machine into first place with Carl Skerlong following not far behind. An incident between Philip Metzger and Alex Wikell in turn two brought out a full course caution and boxed up the field for the restart. Skerlong took the advantage on the restart and out-braked Livernash to take the lead. Unfortunately Livernash locked up his brakes and spun to avoid a collision. This left Skerlong to take the victory with Davis in second and Livernash recovering for third.

"We had the perfect day, collecting all the points possible," Skerlong recalled. "I late braked Livernash into turn one after the restart and we got crossed up but I got him coming out of turn two. We got a good group of guys and a great system. It's working for us."

Davis explained, "We had an electrical problem in qualifying so my car faded because we didn't have time to work on the setup. I was just holding on and actually used the curbs to help keep the car from sliding around. We managed to get second which we're happy with."

Livernash said, "After the yellow I went into turn one and Skerlong just dive bombed me. I had to lock it up or hit him. Then I was just trying to make it back up to the front."

Livernash also announced that he would be making the move from Welch Racing to Speed Secrets in time for the next event.

You will see them all compete again on May 21st - 22nd for the next two rounds of the Formula TR series in Phoenix, Arizona at the famous Phoenix International Raceway.

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers John Knudsen , Travis Braun , Derek Sabol , Carl Skerlong , Seth Ingham